Knowing What's Actually Newsworthy

Jan 19, 2015


There are a lot of good things that lots of organizations do or accomplish every day. Some of them are nice internal efforts or achievements, some involve new initiatives for the organization, and some stuff has a real impact on the community that the organization serves.

There is a time and place for all of this news to be shared – but not all of it will make the cut for your daily newspaper or the evening television newscast. Certainly be sure to share all of your accomplishments – no matter how large or small – within the organization, internally. But being more selective with what you issue in news releases and media alerts will actually help to IMPROVE your media coverage. This is the skill that journalists, editors and news directors love to see in the organizations they cover – knowing what’s actually newsworthy.

If your organization has hired or promoted someone, most newspapers have a “Company News” section to which you can submit basic information (usually limited to 2-3 sentences) and a photo. Unless you have a new CEO, the media probably won’t run any more than this. If you’ve started doing something that’s new for your organization, but others in your industry already do it, too, then it’s not newsworthy to anyone other than your internal staff and your directly impacted audiences – like customers. But if you have something new to announce (or a truly significant update on an annual or year-round initiative) that will impact the audience that the news outlet reaches, then you might have something newsworthy.

It’s not always an “all-or-nothing” deal, either. If you have a major financial achievement or receive an industry award, for example, consider targeting your news toward local business media, as opposed to all of the general news outlets. But no matter which media outlets you’re contacting, it is basic etiquette to know what they’ve covered recently. If they just did a story on a similar topic, following up with your story isn’t helpful to them – in fact, that’s the worst time to share it.

When you’re on the inside of an organization, it’s not always easy to be able to decipher what the outside world would consider to be more or less newsworthy. You believe in the mission of your organization, and you’re proud of everything that your team accomplishes! That’s why it’s helpful to have an external, objective opinion when building your strategy for sharing good news.

No matter how you get there, finding a way to deliver more of the newsworthy content that your local media wants – and less of what they don’t want – will have a big impact on your relationship with these journalists, and on the news coverage your organization receives.